Doctor Who: The Internet Adventures - #9 REVOLUTION 9 Chapter 7 - "Two Beas or Not Two Beas" or "Obligatory Chapter With a Name Utilizing a Bad Literary Pun" by Ian McIntire Flashback ********* "Oi! Earth to Professor! You gonna eat that?" Ace used her fork to point to the discarded slice of watermelon that sat neglected on the side of the Doctor's plate. Her companion looked up at her, his train of thought interrupted. "Hmmmm? Oh. No. You can have it." He returned his gaze to the window, watching as the rising sun tinted the world strange colors. Genetically engineered plants absorbed contaminants from the soil, giving their leaves an almost silver sheen. In the distance, the sodium streetlights were turning off, one by one, changing the Reading sky's color from a burnt orange to its normal light gray. "Penny for them." The Doctor turned to face his companion, and found a concerned young woman looking back at him. Ace had clearly sensed his melancholy, and was doing her best to help him. Her interest made him smile. "Thank you," he said. A moment later, he sighed and continued. "A friend of mine just died." Ace didn't know what to say. She wanted to hug him - console him in some way, but she wasn't sure how he'd react. "I'm sorry," was all she could say. "It's not your fault. You've no reason to be sorry. I'd only met her once before, really - when I became her godfather." Ace tried to conceal her surprise. The Doctor? A godfather? It was hard for her to imagine. "The strange thing is, though, that she said we'd met twice before. It means I'll have to see her again sometime in my future. After seeing her ... die ... I'm not sure how I'll react." "When you do see her again, I don't think she'd want you to dwell on her death." Ace really had no idea if what she was saying was helping or hurting, but she felt that she had to say something. What would really help, she felt, would be getting the Doctor away from this environment, and back into the TARDIS. The waiter arrived with the check, and Ace promptly snatched it from the table and fished in her pockets for currency appropriate to 2007. "Why don't you tell me about her on our way back?" The Doctor grinned slightly, and slid out of the booth. Ace followed him as he grabbed his umbrella from the coat rack and left the restaurant. ************** Unflashback ************** The cowled figure looked down at his prisoner, a smirk smeared across his face. The prisoner looked up disdainfully, his face a mask of defiance. Each waited for the other to speak. Each waited some more. "Um...." the prisoner began. "Do you want to start, or should I?" "Oh. I'll start, I guess." The cowled figure closed his eyes briefly, trying to get back into character. The smirk returned, and the captor said, "Well, my poor fool. It seems like you've fallen right into my trap. How.... um...." "What?" "Well, I was going to say 'How foolish of you,' but then I realized that I'd already called you a fool. Seemed a bit redundant." "Hmmm.... How about 'unwise'?" The captor shook his head. "Not enough oomph." "Unfortunate?" "Implies that your capture was just due to bad luck. I want to insult you a little, too." "Brainless?" The captor considered for a moment. "A bit coarse, but I guess it'll do." He cleared his throat. "How brainless of you." "You'll never get away with this, you fiend!" The captor threw back his head and opened his mouth. He was about to say something when he was cut off by the prisoner again. "You vile fiend!!" The captor again threw back his head and this time let out a maniacal laugh. "MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA! HA-HA! Oh, I beg to differ. In fact, I have already gotten away with this." He paused, waiting for a response from the prisoner. After a few seconds of waiting, he continued. "You see, I've already captured your friends. They're being interrogated right now, and once my ... um... not troops ... associates? I want to say associates, but that implies that they're equals... hmmm... assistants, I guess. Once my assistants are finished with them, they'll be killed." He paused for a second, a confused expression on his face. "That is, *your friends* will be killed, not my assistants." Another pause. "Well? Nothing to say? I've come to expect some kind of feeble protest from you." "Ummm.... What's your devious plan?" "Oh, come on." The captor rolled his eyes. "That was about as subtle as ... something completely unsubtle. Can't you do any better?" "Look, I'm trying, all right?" The prisoner was on the verge of tears. "I think you made these manacles too tight. I can't concentrate." The captor kneeled down and removed the prisoner's bindings. "Sorry. Look, why don't we take a break? I really should be seeing to the Ferris affair, and I think we could both use some time to relax." The prisoner sniffled a little. "Next time, I want to be the captor, and you can be the prisoner." "Sure." The captor put his arm around the prisoner's shoulders, and they both walked out of the cell. ******************* A few minutes later, a pair of plasma bolts launched by the former captor ripped through Angela Ferris' ship, completely atomizing its occupant. ******************* One of the rebel Rutan on Paradise staggered as it felt the impact of the bolts. Its fellow Rutan - its progenitor - no longer existed. *Kuldor's attempt to negotiate with the unknown aliens has been unsuccessful. The revolution will continue as scheduled. Perhaps these aliens are not interested in an alliance.* The information of Kuldor's death crossed the planet in an instant. Even agents of the Old Mind felt his - its - death resonate in their gestalt. The rebel mind developed a new plan. *Capture the installation at all costs. Bring the human to the closest access point, and let her provide the service for which we employed her.* The rebel mind congratulated itself for not taking Ferris aboard the ship. Her skills wouldn't have been needed for the negotiations anyway, and her target was still deep inside the planet. The human in question, meanwhile, was loudly and insistently protesting the fact that Kuldor had commandeered her vessel without asking, blissfully unaware that said vessel no longer existed. "Tanj it! I wanted to disappear, but I hadn't planned on going out in a puff of radioactive ash!" She trailed off, realizing that it was pointless to shout after a craft that was undoubtedly halfway into hyperspace by now. She muttered a few mild oaths under her breath, and looked around the spaceport. Oh well. The death that the orbiting ship offered her would no doubt be merciful and quick compared to Morok's employer's plans for her. She glanced at her chronometer: ten hours before the sterilization the aliens had promised. Time enough to - her gaze wandered across the resort, eventually coming to rest on the beach bar - get quite comfortably sloshed. A Yskran had evidently had the same idea, and was lying across the bar, unconscious. A collection of empty liquor bottles littered the area behind her, coating the floor with an extremely sticky mixture of their dregs. Angela didn't know much about mixology, so she simply grabbed the first unopened bottle she could find. She was about halfway through the bottle of grenadine (curiously still level-headed) when a pair of Rutan agents approached her. "Kul- Kuldor? I thought you'd stolen my ship and left." "We are not Kuldor" the pair chorused. "We are.... Very well, call us Kuldor for expediency's sake. We are ready for you to attempt to gain access to the planet's core." "Yeah, well, I'm not sure it makes any difference. Those aliens up there are all set to sterilize the planet." She returned to the bottle, wincing at the too-sweet taste. "They're bluffing," the Rutan chorused. "Yeah, right." "We've compared the capabilities of their craft with what we know of the planet, and have concluded that if we can seize control of the planet's inner workings before their deadline, the craft should pose no threat." "That's not bluffing. That's playing chicken." Ugh! How could people drink this stuff? It didn't even seem to be getting her drunk. "Semantics are unimportant. Accompany us." They had a point. Angela stood up from her stool. Oooh. The grenadine was having an effect. Nausea blossomed in her stomach as the taste of the grenadine forced its way up her throat. Oddly enough, there were none of the other effects she'd come to associate with drunkenness - no lightheadedness, no problems with her equilibrium, no slurred speech. But nausea. Oh *Goddess* nausea. The pair of Rutan sidled next to her and pointed her in the general direction of the beach. "Why - oooh - are we going this way? Shouldn't we be going to the shuttle pad?" "The entrance to the cavern system is this way, underwater." Angela started worrying. "But I can't breathe underwater." They'd reached the shoreline now. "Understood." The Rutan, who by this time were standing on either side of her, melted into their now-familiar amorphous forms, and proceeded to pour themselves at Angela's feet. The level of Rutan quickly rose to her hips, her chest, her neck. A fraction of a second before the Rutan reached her mouth, Angela felt the contents of her stomach give one final rebellious heave and make a break for freedom by way of her esophagus. *I hope you guys find grenadine more palatable than I did.* Moments later, a Rutan in the shape of a large fish flopped into the ocean, a panicking system slicer in its belly. It swam southward, leaking a reddish fluid. **************** It was a large dark cavern. It must have been close to a mile across, with completely smooth, curved walls. It was in the shape of a hemisphere, with the flat side acting (fortunately) as the floor. A single rock, about the size and shape of a golf ball, lay in the exact center. The room was silent, silent as uncertainty. Or at least, it was silent until an otherworldly sound reverberated through the cavern. Dimensional energies shifted, roiled. Given what was happening, it was amazing that there wasn't more of an effect. Just a wheezing, groaning sound, followed by a soft thump. The next thing reality knew, it had been nudged aside, and a tall blue box had been inserted neatly. The Doctor, his dark green velvet coat complemented by a miner's helmet, emerged from the box a few seconds later. "Ah, here we are. Everyone out, the environment's safe enough, if a little dark." Wil followed, also wearing a miner's hat. "Whoa. Maybe they *are* trying to obliterate every last human on the planet, but you've got to admire their sense of interior decorating. Very impressive." Jadi was lugging a huge pack of equipment on his back. "All this aboard that one ship in orbit? What - is it like your TARDIS, Doctor?" "No no no." The Doctor was examining the rock, prodding it in several locations and occasionally humming into it. "We're not on the ship, we're inside the planet. Ah, here we are." He placed the rock in his mouth, which somehow caused the cavern walls to emit a soft light. He spit out the rock and said, "You can take those off now. They look silly." He wiped the rock on the lapels of his jacket, tossing his own miner's helmet through the TARDIS doors. "Erm, correct me if I've overlooked something here, Doctor, but aren't the aliens in the ship above us the most pressing problem at the moment? Can't we do our amateur archeology later?" Wil had changed clothes since he'd entered the TARDIS, exchanging his bathing trunks and Hawaiian shirt for a more practical jeans/T-shirt/battered military jacket/ scuffed boots ensemble. "This is where the most powerful energy emissions were coming from, so I thought we should check this out first." "What about Ferris?" Morok grumbled. "She can wait until we've dealt with the situation here." The Doctor poked the rock, and was putting it back in his mouth when Jadi pointed a gun at him. "Look, Doc. I've been very patient with you. You promised me forty thousand mazumas for not turning you in to the Toymaker. I never got it, but I figured 'What the hell? The Doc's a fairly decent guy, and the Toymaker'd probably pay me in Monopoly money anyway.' But the Ferris job is enough to retire on. It's my nest-egg, got that? I like you, Doc. But if you come between me and my target, I won't be held responsible for my actions." The Doctor brought a hand up to his mouth, spitting out the 'control rock.' "Jadi, check your scanner. There should be a human female in close proximity to a number of Rutan readings. They're very close by, and I'd wager that that's who you're looking for. Ferris was not in the ship you saw leave Paradise." While keeping his gun aimed at the Doctor, Jadi pulled a portable scanner out of his backpack. Sure enough, the readings were exactly as the Doctor predicted. The bounty hunter holstered his weapon. "I still want that forty thou." "Gladly. Wil, give Jadi back his weapon." The Doctor returned the rock to his mouth and walked away. Jadi looked for Wil, and couldn't find him anywhere. Finally, he turned around 180 degrees, and found Wil standing wide-eyed with fear. His muscles were clenched, and his hands were shaking. He was pointing one of Jadi's blasters directly at the bounty hunter. Jadi made eye contact with him, and that seemed to break the spell. Wil relaxed, the gun now aiming at the floor. He turned the weapon so he was holding it by the barrel, and handed it to Jadi. "Come on, you two. We've got work to do." The Doctor's voice was coming from somewhere near the rim of the cavern. **************** The pale, blonde man leaned toward the intercom on his desk. "Roberta," he said, his lisp still present. "I'm not to be disturbed for the next hour." "Yes sir." He leaned back in his chair, staring at the photos scattered on his desk. Different angles, different photographers, different media, different quality. Mostly from 6 years ago, but with a wide variety still present. Shoreditch, London, San Francisco. A few from '95 Singapore. Frisco '99. A huge hologram, circa the attempted Martian invasion, reduced to desktop size. UNIT files, garnered from before the organization realized how unsecure its datalines were. Photos from yesterday. A cable snaked out from the man's shirt cuff, finding its way toward an outlet. A great deal of current would be required for this. It had been so long since the man had done this, so long restricted to "I" and "me" and "my." Photos from sources that had appeared from before photography had been properly invented. Alien records from the French revolution. He allowed himself to smile at the way the photographer had inadvertently captured his subjects from the neck down. A picture of the French revolution, and everyone's head was cut off. Photos from yesterday, the subject running away from his UNIT allies. An observer in the room would have seen the man begin to sweat profusely. A sheen of perspiration appeared all over his skin, even on his clothes. Tremors ran through his body, shaking even more drops of sweat off. Evidence beyond human understanding, telepathic spoor traces, psychological profiles. Eyewitness accounts from patrons of an Indian restaurant, and a woman who'd had a gnome stolen. Photos from yesterday, the subject running away from his UNIT allies, a safari jacket hugging his shoulders, and an inane grin plastered across his face. The sweat became opaque, and thick, almost syrupy. It flowed from every pore, from his mouth, from his nostrils, ears and tear ducts. The fluid pooled on the floor, flowing gently to a central point in front of the desk. Photos from yesterday, me running away from my UNIT allies, a safari jacket hugging my shoulders, and an inane grin plastered across my face. When the blonde man regained consciousness, he was staring at the Doctor. The copy had extended a power cord of his own, and was feeding off the current from the outlet. The man smiled. "We have our orders" the pair chorused together. The Doctor left the back way. The man continued feeding for a few more moments, then retracted his cord, straightened his hair, adjusted his tie and went out for his next meeting. **************** "Do you trust him?" Wil and the Doctor were walking along the circumference of the circular chamber, looking for any kind of opening they could find. The subject of their discussion was doing the same, walking in the opposite direction. "He's a good man, Wil. He's just trying to deal with a universe that he perceives as intrinsically unfair." The Doctor's voice sounded a bit odd, but he'd just about gotten the hang of talking around the rock. "He's a money-grubbing thug." "Nobody's perfect." "He could have shot you back there!" "No he couldn't." The Doctor produced a tiny power cell from inside a pocket. "I took this from his gun." Wil paused. "What about the one that I had?" "Fully charged." Wil realized how close he'd been to shooting Jadi in the back. It wasn't a pleasant feeling. "So, now that we have a few spare moments, care to tell me what kind of business you had to attend to?" "I took a nap." Wil looked at the Doctor askance. "A nap? I thought you said it would take years." "It did. I slept for about a decade." "What?" "Wil, did you know that the only Terran animal that concentrates all of its daily requirement for sleep into one chunk is Homo Sapiens? The rest of the animal kingdom takes several quick naps that last a few minutes each. That's where you get the term 'cat nap.'" "And what does this have to do with your sleeping for several years?" "Time Lords take the idea one step further. We concentrate our sleep even more. After what we'd just been through, you can't say I hadn't earned a quick rest." Wil conceded the point. "What about this woman you picked up?" "She's me." "Ah. Can't say I see the resemblance." "She's -" The Doctor spat out the rock and stopped walking. "She's evidently a clone of me. Telepathically, she's acquired some of my memories. I'm not sure how many of them she's gotten, but it seems to varying rapidly. One moment, she knows things about Ancient Gallifrey that I'm sure I never managed to remember, and the next minute all she knows is a phone number for a Martian takeaway place on Kapteyn. I'm a bit worried about her." "Is that why you sent her to the ... uh ... Zero Room?" The Doctor frowned. "My people are notoriously difficult to clone. Our DNA is tricky, and trying to replicate it usually has the most disastrous effects. Quite frankly, I'm surprised she's managed to survive this long. I guess I can attribute it to my unique heritage." "And?" "And..." the Doctor sighed. "I'm afraid her regeneration may be failing. I don't know how long its been since she took on this body, but I'd wager she's spent most of that time in an extremely well-controlled environment. The stress of being out in the real world is only doing her harm. Perhaps in the Zero Room, she can correct the damage. If not..." He trailed off. "What?" "The Zero Room will give her a safe environment in which to regenerate. It may stabilize her next body and let it survive longer." He inhaled deeply, and turned toward the TARDIS. "But I'm afraid this will be her final regeneration. She doesn't have any more." "What?" The Doctor smiled. "You really are shaping up to be a wonderful travelling companion, Wil. Just don't go spraining your ankle, and you'll be fine." Wil scowled. "Fine, don't explain." "I'm sorry. I can't tell you how, but I've been able to discover that this is going to be her final regeneration. It must have something to do with the cloning process only being able to transfer so many regenerations, but whatever the cause, she'll only have one more body after the one you saw." "Doctor?" "Yes?" "Haven't we walked past this spot already?" The Doctor looked around the room. The TARDIS was standing where it had originally been, but.... "He's gone. Jadi's disappeared." Wil looked toward the TARDIS. "Could he be in there?" "I don't know. We should check." **************** Jadi rubbed his head, trying to recover from the dizziness that he'd come to associate from a transmat beam. "Ah," said a hissing voice from somewhere above him. "Why don't we have him be the prisoner for a while, and we can *both* be the captors?" ************* "I need an adapter," Angela told the Rutan. "TIS female one end, and ... whatever this is, for the other," she said patting the alien console in front of her. It had been years since she'd used the cranial port that she'd had implanted as a teenager, but as far as she could tell, this was what this system called for. She fingered the jack at the base of her neck, hoping that none of the connections had corroded. "Use the consoles." That simultaneous speaking was really getting on her nerves. "As far as I can tell, getting into this system requires using a mental link *and* the consoles *simultaneously*." She rifled through her equipment (which the Rutan had thoughtfully had waiting for her when they disgorged her next to what they'd identified as the main entrance node) and selected a cable for her jack. Ha! Before Alcestus, most of her slicer friends had called the jack a rich kid's toy without any practical application. They'd be completely out of their depth on this job, only able to shrug and say "sorry" as the aliens sterilized the planet - if the Rutan didn't exact their revenge first. Only she would be able to hack this job. Of course, her friends had been right. The jack *was* a rich kid's toy. *But what the hell? I was a rich kid, and my parents could afford it. And it's certainly come in useful now, hasn't it?* The Rutan turned and stared at each other. Well, Angela assumed they were staring at each other. Since the only human down here was her, the Rutan had decided to adopt their natural form, big blobby jellyfish with darker spots that *could* be visual organs. One of them shuffled toward her, leaving much of its mass behind it in a slimy trail. By the time it reached Angela's feet, it was about the size of a parakeet. "We will be your adapter," it announced, this time without the chorus of the other Rutan behind it. Ick. The adapter Rutan launched itself at the alien computer, conforming its shape to the input jack. After a suitable period, it shaped its outer surface to a Terran Imperial Standard female connection. Angela selected a longer cable, plugged one end into her cranial port, and the other into the Rutan. She was in. For better or for worse, she was in. ********** Brigadier Bambera put her head in her hands and allowed herself ten seconds to silently curse the sadist who'd invented bureaucracy. Normally, she was able to put herself above it all, and work outside the system. Police, for example, upon seeing her credentials would immediately fall in line and let her get on with saving the world. She'd just spent three hours talking with her superiors in London and Geneva, and she was still no closer to determining exactly what organization was in charge of the commando team that had curtailed her attempts to capture the Gallifreyan. She was fairly sure that the Browning's patient wasn't any incarnation of the Doctor, but Browning's report did mention Gallifrey, which suggested some familiarity with the Doctor's homeworld. She rubbed her eyes. There really wasn't a great deal more that she could do. She had already sent a section of tracker squads onto the streets, looking for any sign of the Doctor, the TARDIS, or the enigmatic female patient. If they found anything, she'd be the first to be notified, whether she was at the office or at home. Home. How long had it been since she'd had a chance to just sit at home and spend time with Ancelyn and the twins. She was almost out of her office door when her desk phone rang. She picked it up before it could ring a second time. "Bambera" she said into the receiver. "Um... Hello?" asked a tentative young male voice on the other end of the line. "Is this UNIT?" Bambera's radar lit up. "Who is this?" It could be anyone. Anyone from a conspiracy nut who'd managed to get lucky, to the Doctor himself. Of course, the Doctor would probably be giving his code clearance or some other proof of his identity at this point. "My name's Tim Matheson. The Doctor told me it would be a good idea to put myself into protective custody with you. If you are UNIT, that is. He said to say '8920'" The code for immediate pick-up. Sufficient verification of his story. "Mr Matheson, what's your current location?" "I'm using the pay phone in a McDonalds," the receiver became muffled for a moment, and Bambera heard the young man asking for the address, which he then relayed to her. "I'll be sending someone to pick you up, Mr. Matheson. They should be there within five minutes, and will give the same code you just gave me, so you'll know who they are. Have a seat in the dining area closest to the pay phone." "Okay." "Good. There's nothing to worry about, Mr. Matheson. You're in good hands." Bambera disconnected the call and made contact with the tracker squad closest to Matheson's location. The instructions were given, and Bambera could expect to see Matheson within half an hour. She left her office to prepare a debriefing room for the boy, practically running into the Doctor on her way out. "Doctor! We've been looking for you." He seemed no worse for wear, his safari jacket still clashing with his silver ascot. He smiled that toothy smile of his and replied "Well, here I am. Let's get to work." "What exactly did you have in mind? I'm afraid we've come to a bit of a brick wall. My troops are about to pick up Matheson, by the way." "Matheson... yes. As for what I have in mind.... follow me." The pseudo-Doctor set off down the corridor, Bambera trailing behind him. ************ "Can't find him," Wil stated, coming across the Doctor standing at the door of the Zero Room. "Going to check on her?" The Doctor nodded and entered the room. And was left speechless. Beatrice was hovering about 4 feet above the floor. She looked about a year younger than when Tom and Mike had first adopted her.